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5:2 Thread No. 74: If you only enjoy long walks when they’re taken by people who annoy you, don‘t worry: Fasting is a far more efficient way to burn fat

(1000 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Sat 03-Mar-18 22:49:54

Welcome to the continuing thread for those following 5:2 or other forms of IF (Intermittent Fasting) such as 4:3, ADF, or daily 16:8 smile

The 5:2 diet was introduced by Michael Mosely on BBC Horizon on August 2012:

Basically it is 2 very low cal days ("fasts") per week - which need not be consecutive - and eat "normally" the other 5 days.

For those who have dieted or maybe overeaten for years, eating "normally" means roughly the number of calories your body needs to maintain - NOT reduce - its weight (see TDEE calculator below).

If you have had Eating Disorders you should NOT do 5:2 or any other kind of fasting


16:8 is a different type of fasting, which can be combined with 5:2.
Daily zero-cal fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8 hour window. To lose weight, this needs a weekly calorie deficit as well

4:3 = fast on 3 non-consecutive days per week

ADF (Alternate-Day Fasting) = fast every other day

BMI (Body Mass Index) healthy range is 18.5 - 24.9 for Caucasians. Upper limit may be 22 for some of Asian origin.

FD = Fast Day: aim for 500 calories (600 for men or 25% TDEE if higher) or 1000 cals for BF
Even if you exercise strenuously, do NOT increase FD cals

MFP = My Fitness Pal, a useful App or website to track food & drink calories

NFD = Non-Fast Day, averages around TDEE

NSV / LSV = Non Scale Victory / LifeStyle (change) Victory, e.g. compliment, smaller waist, new skinny jeans

SV = Scale Victory

TDEE = Total Daily Energy Expenditure, the average number of calories you burn in a day, is calculated (see calculators below) from your current weight, height, age, activity level.
Aim to average about this for NFDs.

WOE / WOL = Way Of Eating / Way Of Life. We say this instead of "diet", to emphasise that we must make a permanent change in how we eat, to mainitain our new healthy weight longterm.


. Take initial measurements: weight, waist, hips
. Use TDEE calculator below as a rough guide to how much to eat on NFDs
. Choose any 2 days for FDs, non-consecutive is easier.
. Before each FD: plan, shop & calorie count ALL food & drink for the day

Useful Resources & Calculators

Calorie Counter: mfp , mfp
Calories for NFD: TDEE Calc (exercisers: set activity level to one below what you think)
FD Recipes: BBC Good Food 52 , Mosely LowCarb , BBC Good Food 500 cal meals ,
Good2Know , Vegetarian ,
Foodie Under 200 Cals
Any Day: Meal Planner
FD Ready Meals, Takeaways, Restaurant: Mirror , Indie
Safe Alcohol: Calc Daily UnitsCalories , Calc Weekly Units

BMI: Calc
Body Frame Size: Calc
Calc Ideal Weight Range
Body Fat: BF Calc
Choose / Visualise Goal Weight:
3D BMI body variations ripped to normal
Bod Vis Measurements & 3D rotate

FAQs / Tips

- WATER: Start each day with a glass of water; and drink plenty during the day.
- HOT DRINKS: No limits on tea or coffee, but on FDs count any milk / sugar calories.
- CLENCH for health: Men & women should exercise pelvic floor daily
- SLEEP: Try to get enough sleep, or it may slow weight loss.
- EXERCISE: is healthy & can help weight loss - BUT only if you do NOT eat back less than you burn. Fasted training can burn more fat.
HIIT and resistance training both work well with 5:2/IF.

If you exercise, do NOT increase FD cals
Instead, calculate NFD target with your activity level set one level below what you estimate.

- FDs: If possible, choose days when you are busy, but not preparing meals for others.
Concentrate on protein & veg; avoid / reduce starchy carbs & sugar, including juice.
Soups & stews are good; ready meals are fine.
Most prefer either to skip breakfast & save most cals for supper, or have 2 meals.

- BFers: start with 1000-cal FDs, optionally reduce to 700 cals gradually.
You can return to 1000 if growth spurts or sleep-deprivation require more fuel.

- NFDs: No rules, but to improve health, try to cut down on added sugar & junk food, keep alcohol within safe limits. A few treats per week are fine.
Aim for TDEE, but you may under-eat by say 20% on 3 NFDs to save calories for weekend.

- Plateau / Losing & regaining same few lb: Many folk have a plateau after losing 15 lb +, while their body rebalances.
It may also be a longterm "set point" weight, so homeostasis is causing your body to resist losing more fat.
Just be patient & you'll break through.
However, if this persists for 4 weeks+ then typically you are overeating on NFDs, so aim to average within TDEE - mfp for a week, to reality check.

- Lots to lose - how to speed up weight loss
Optionally calculate the lower TDEE for goal weight, but eat to current weight TDEE at least 1 day per week.
This helps your body adjust to needing less food as you lose weight.
Also trains you how to eat to maintain goal weight.

- Do NOT fast: if you've ever had EDs, or if pregnant, under 21, over-stressed, fever, stomach bug, even a bad cold.
When ill, your body usually needs more nutrients and less stress. So don't force yourself to eat, but if hungry then eat nutritious food to TDEE & cut out junk, added sugar, fizzy drinks, alcohol.

- CHECK with your Doctor: if you have diabetes, any other endocrine condition, any serious past or present medical condition, or if taking ANY prescribed medication (fasting may affect absorption rate)

Useful MN Threads

5:2/IF Exercise Thread #3 gives advice & support on combining 5:2 with exercise.
The OP explains science behind fasting, exercise & health & has many calculators.

5:2 FD Recipe Thread
Post your own too !

5:2 / IF Inspirational Thread has reports from Mumsnet 5:2ers who have lost weight.

Scientific Evidence for Fasting & Health

BBC article on the original Horizon program

Telegraph comments on 5:2 and gives a brief overview by Dr Mosley, useful for newbies.

This InterviewPart1 and InterviewPart2 with leading ADF researcher Dr Varady explains why fasting helps you to lose weight AND improves some health markers.

Fasting boosts "autophagy" = recycling of old cells
Yoshinori Ohsumi won the 2016 Nobel prize for Medicine for research into autophagy
NOBEL Lecture “Autophagy – An Intracellular Recycling System”

Prof. R Taylor (Newcastle Uni) won the 2013 Diabetes UK Banting Prize for his Twin Cycle Hypothesis which explains the cause of type 2 diabetes: Twin Cycle Hypothesis T2
and showed a strict fasting diet could reverse T2

Dr Michelle Harvie (funded by cancer charities) showed possible benefits of intermittent fasting compared to standard daily calorie reduction in her trials (consecutive FDs) with women at high risk of breast cancer: ComparingDiets , EarlierResearch52

Dr Johnson showed intermittent fasting helped Asthma

HORMESIS & Why Intermittent Fasting Works: Mattson , BlackSwan and Hormesis

Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications: J CellMetabolism
Recent research into the health benefits of fasting: e.g. by world-respected neuroscientist Dr MarkMattson (Mosely referred to his research) showed:

. Improved glucose regulation
. Loss of abdominal fat with maintenance of muscle mass
. Reduced blood pressure and heart rate
. Improved learning and memory and motor function
. Protection of neurons in the brain against dysfunction and degeneration in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and Huntington’s disease.

Brain metabolism in health, aging, andneurodegeneration :
"lifestyles that include intermittent bioenergetic challenges, most notably exercise and dietary energy restriction, can increase the likelihood that the brain will function optimally and in the absence of disease throughout life"

He compared 5:2 to ordinary daily diets on overweight women with family history of breast cancer.
Fasting group lost more belly fat, retained more muscle & had slightly better blood sugar regulation.

More of his research is in HealthyAging , Health , AvoidParkinsonsDisease

His article in J Aging Mech Disease 2015 explains the health benefits of intermittent fasting in great scientific detail.

Why intermittent fasting and stopping snacking can lower your risk of serious diseases:
Meal frequency and timing in health and disease

Fasting can help maintain brain health during aging:
"lifestyles that include intermittent bioenergetic challenges, most notably exercise and dietary energy restriction, can increase the likelihood that the brain will function optimally and in the absence of disease throughout life"

This interview with leading researchers into fasting in combination with standard cancer treatment: ScientificDiscussion MoselyMattsonLongo and a LongoInterview

NY Times Fasting Overview

Research by other US and European scientists in this DailyTelegraph Article about the medicinal uses of fasting, for many serious conditions & diseases.

Recent trials with Type 2 diabetics and those at risk of having it used a form of daily fasting - skipping supper.
Their conclusions: eating 1-2 meals per day is better than several small meals for losing weight and controlling insulin levels, see Type2Paper


A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed their experience and tips over all these threads.
Any lurkers and newbies, come join us and share your experiences too. These are lovely supportive threads and everyone is welcome !

BigChocFrenzy Sat 03-Mar-18 22:50:56

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grin Welcome to 5:2 thread # 74 ! grin

FAQs & tips in the OP

"HOW TO START" section has
+ Tips & FAQs
+ FD recipes, meal plans
+ Body Goal Visualisers
+ Calculators for TDEE, Body Fat, Frame Size, Ideal Weight Range, Daily Alcohol Units / Cals

"Scientific Evidence for Health & Fasting" is at the end of the OP and includes links to peer-reviewed science papers

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purpleviolet1 Sun 04-Mar-18 07:57:21

Thanks BCF as always you are all over it!

HLBug Sun 04-Mar-18 07:59:52

Thanks for the new thread BCF

purpleviolet1 Sun 04-Mar-18 08:13:43

It just occurred to me that I've been feeling very thirsty so thought I would check my blood sugars before breakfast. I had gestational diabetes and also do not have 80% of my pancreas as it was removed. My babba is nearly 1 and after the birth the sugars went back to normal.

The result this morning is 6.2. A bit high no? Latest I had anything last night was 9pm. So 11 hours hours later I would've expected it to be lower. Thinking about it I have also started to get up during the night to go to the loo. I've also had days where I've felt very hungry and I didn't feel satisfied but I thought that it was all coming from the mind but perhaps not.

Will keep an eye over the next few days and make GP appt if necessary.

purpleviolet1 Sun 04-Mar-18 08:15:06

I've lost nearly a stone since November on this WOE and my BMI is now 23 so in the normal range.

Fortythreeandfatasfuck Sun 04-Mar-18 08:26:37

Morning everyone, and wow, I've just caught up on the last few pages of the old thread. quacking what a transformation, you must want to pinch yourself everyday. Well done to bug and slinky and everyone else on their SV's and NSVs.... fab!

Had two good NFDs Fri and sat but have a tricky day today as got 2 birthday meet up's! !! lunch with a friend who has just turned 40 so I'm skipping breakfast and will opt for soup and a wee slice of cake (no alcohol) and then MIL birthday who I'm not particularly close to and would avoid seeing if it was my decision so will have no problem resisting the cake but will have to try hard to resist any alcohol to get me through it grin wish me luck!!

Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday

Butteredparsn1ps Sun 04-Mar-18 09:01:23

Thank you for the new thread BCF & Thanks also to everyone who offered support and encouragement on the last thread. Being here is definitely helping me.

Wow Quacking - what an inspirational set of pictures - well done 👍

We have too much chocolate cake in the house at the moment following a family birthday. I am determined to avoid all but the smallest slice today grin

Mrsjellybum Sun 04-Mar-18 09:11:52

Hello x

Iateallthebread Sun 04-Mar-18 09:26:26

Hi everyone, been quiet here as I have had a horrible cold combined with being snowed in for 6 days so far. I haven’t done any fast days but will get back on it when I feel better. I’ve been making healthy choices though made easier by the fact that that’s all we have in the house and can’t get to the shops!
Well done to everyone on their sv and nsv victories. Thanks for sharing your pictures quacking. You should be proud of your hard work.

MazDazzle Sun 04-Mar-18 09:49:35

Same here lateallthebread. This snow is seriously doing my head in. Haven’t fasted properly in a week or so. Planning a GD tomorrow though.

DH is away, so trying to entertain a toddler and 2 kids is a pain. There’s no activity where all 3 are happy and the youngest has decided that 4:30am is a perfectly acceptable time to get up!

Well done quacking. Your progress is amazing!

southeastlondonmum Sun 04-Mar-18 09:50:50

Love the thread title. Weighed in today on old and new/dodgy scales!
On old scales I was a 1lb off so under 11 stone (whoop) and on new scales I was 11.6 which is down on yesterday.
I'm ditching the new scales as DH got on old scales last night and was the weight he always has been since 18... a long time ago. So a counting that as a SV especially with TOTM and aiming to be at target 10, 10 on old scales by end of March

Iamblossom Sun 04-Mar-18 09:54:31

Morning all.

Only did one FD last week and have been guzzling booze and nuts and generally eating far too much. Am 4 pounds up so am going to have a good clean day today and drink lots of water and fast tomorrow.

Have to check in here to keep me on the straight and narrow!!!

BlueBelle123 Sun 04-Mar-18 10:06:44

2nd day of B2B, hoping not to eat anything until some soup at lunch, also about to go out for a run as the snow has mostly gone.

South your new scales would have sent me over the edge if I'd thought I'd put on 10lbs over night and then jumping for joy when I'd realised I'd lost it all again grin

Thanks for the new thread BCF can't believe how quickly it fills up!

quackingduck222 Sun 04-Mar-18 10:35:28

Purple you’ve done fantastic and your little one is still so young.

Darcy - this thread is invaluable. A lot of times I’ve fallen off the wagon and struggled to get back on and actually fast and couldn’t. But I found posting here held me accountable if you know what I mean. Like a virtual slimming club.

Good luck 43, you sound like your head is well in the game and that’s all you need to succeed.

Bread - look after yourself it’s been a funny week with the snow messing everything up.

Southeast can you try putting something on the messed up scales that you know the weight of like a dumbbell then take them back as faulty?

Lamb a good FD will sort you out and a good poop as BCF says grin

Blue - smash it, you will feel so great tonight.

Yesterday was a funny day not fasting I was a bit naughty food wise, not in a position to fast as still slightly under target and can’t work out why as I look at food and I gain. So I’m going to have a day of healthy choices and no crap.

Thanks for the the lovely comments.

snailhunter Sun 04-Mar-18 11:54:17

Hello all! Checking in for nice healthy NFD. With roast chicken, yum.

OohMrDarcy Sun 04-Mar-18 12:44:39

Afternoon all,

Purple - from a quick google that blood sugar suggests potential for pre-diabetes... might be worth getting checked with docs? <disclaimer - I literally googled diabetic blood sugar level>

Quacking - how odd that you are struggling to maintain enough weight now.... what is your BMI? Is it possible that your body naturally wants to be a little lower now? (within a healthy range obviously)... though lovely to have to option of lots of yummy / naughtiness ocassionally! Thanks for the encouragement - first joined this thread September 2015.... lost just over 4 stone before summer 16 and then have fallen massively off the wagon ever since... with a few rubbish attempts to get back on. I know the WOE works for me, just need to keep focused and posting whilst I get back into the better habits again.

BCF - thanks for the new thread once again! Loving the title.

Am having a lovely chicken roast today - and planning to eat to TDEE to ensure tomorrow isn't too much of a struggle. Have got my veggies in and ready - including spring greens which I love and remember using lots of when fasting previously. Think I have meals planned for tomorrow but currently only at around 600 so have wiggle room if needed.

quackingduck222 Sun 04-Mar-18 12:59:32

Darcy - I can’t understand it a few weeks ago I was struggling to loose anything at all. My BMI is quite low at 19.4 at the minute.

Well it’s great your back again, it’s very easy to fall off that wagon.

BigChocFrenzy Sun 04-Mar-18 13:22:20

purple iirc, you have a history of drinking v little water
You need to drink lots of water, especially when losing weight
Also, with high risk of T2, you really need to cut right back on sugary food or other high carby junk food, if you haven't already

So, do have a checkup at the GP - you may need to go lower carb and get serious about drinking water, to get symptoms under control

purpleviolet1 Sun 04-Mar-18 13:33:00

Thanks BCF I am better on the water front nowadays. Thanks

BigChocFrenzy Sun 04-Mar-18 13:53:39

Many have reversed preT2 or T2 with the BSD, but that is 8 weeks of daily Mediterranean low carb and 800 cals.

quackingduck222 Sun 04-Mar-18 14:17:06

BCF - would BSD 5:2 work the same way as BSD for reversing T2? Using the principal of BSD foods up to TDEE with 2 FDs at 500? Or does it not work like that? Is it the food that lowers it/ the limited amount of cals or is it both combined?

Radicalbell Sun 04-Mar-18 16:04:35

Just posted on older thread, so will repost here 😊😊:

Today 16:03 Radicalbell

Hi all, been lurking on the various threads since just before Christmas, when I got weighed at the doctors and realised my BMI was firmly in 'overweight' category (5ft 3 and 10st 4).
Started 5:2 and after a couple of weeks was down to just under 10 stones. At that point (inspired by BCF) I decided to start measuring myself instead.....I started with a waist of 32 inches and a 'spare tyre' of 40 inches 🙈 At start of January.

Last week, my waist was 30 inches and spare tyre was 35 inches!! And yesterday I weighed myself again and am down to 9st 7. That's 11 pounds in 11 weeks!

I'm absolutely delighted, especially as I've just been doing 2 days on around 500 calories and not even considering TDEE on the NFDs (although I think I will now start paying more attention to that!).

Hope this offers some encouragement to anyone feeling a bit down with progress - this WOL does work :-) x

TalkinPeace Sun 04-Mar-18 16:09:25

If you are short and naturally petite, it may be that your happy weight is as low as BMI18
there was a poster yonks ago on the threads BsshBossh who went from BMI 30 to BMI 18 and last I heard is still there as that is where her body is happy to stabilise.

Things that affect your happy weight :
size of knee joints / angle of shoulder blades / width of shoulder points
as they affect the weight of muscle needed to hold you up.
So long as your thighs never get thinner than your knees, see what weight feels right.

BigChocFrenzy Sun 04-Mar-18 17:21:25

Welcome, radical smile Good start
Well done on your SV and inches NSV

duck For someone at a high starting BMI, 5:2 BSD would probably lose a lot of weight, reduce high BP and improve blood sugar
Whether that is sufficient to reverse preT2 / T2 depends on the individual;
so, they might afterward need to do the full BSD of daily 800 low carb cals for 8 weeks or so.

For someone with BMI < 30 and preT2, I would recommend starting with the full BSD, if possible.

The prize-winning research by Prof Taylor of Newcastle Uni indicates that T2 is caused by the amount of fat around pancreas & liver reaching a personal "Fat Threshold" - what he called the Twin Cycle Hypothesis T2
How much fat is stored at a particular weight and also high the "Fat Threshold" before preT2 starts is individual: probably mainly genetics, but also type of food, exercise etc

The BSD is based on Taylor's human trials - Mosely just used real food, instead of the hospital shakes & veg in Taylor's human trials.
Taylor wrote the foreward in Mosely's BSD book and was very complimentary about using real food

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